Petit Theft

In Florida, petit theft is defined under Florida Statute § 812.014. It is regarded as a theft where the monetary value of the stolen object falls below $300 in value. Petit theft is charged as a misdemeanor under Florida law.

Depending on the circumstances, petit theft may be charged as a first or second-degree misdemeanor. Although, it is important to understand that theft convictions can only be passed if the State proves that the defendant purposely intended to take another's property with the aim of depriving the victim or took the property for personal use without legal entitlement.

Theft crimes are rife in Pensacola, Escambia County, and throughout the entire state of Florida. A theft crime may range from grand theft to other crimes of dishonesty such as a scheme to defraud or embezzlement.

Florida State attorneys have veritable experience prosecuting theft crimes, and even though under Florida Law, petit theft does not incur overly severe penalties, a petit theft conviction could land an individual up to one-year in jail.

Attorney for Petit Theft in Pensacola, FL

It is incredibly essential for someone accused of petit theft to find an experienced defense attorney to fight for his or her case. Just because penalties for petit theft are not as severe as other theft crimes, it does not mean you can handle the case without concern.

If convicted of petit theft, there will be a mark highlighting the crime on your criminal record. This can affect your future by limiting your job possibilities or your ability to rent an apartment or other residences. If you have been charged with petit theft in Pensacola or anywhere in Escambia County, get help from an experienced theft crimes attorney at The Law Office of James M. Burns.

No matter how big or severe a case appears to be, the attorneys at The Law Office of James M. Burns will work with every client professionally and diligently. No stone will go unturned at The Law Office of James M. Burns.

The Law Office of James M. Burns has taken clients from all over Pensacola and Escambia County; and in cities such as Milton, Pace, and Navarre in Santa Rosa County; and even Fort Walton Beach in Okaloosa County.

Contact The Law Office of James M. Burns at (850) 457-6002 today for a free consultation.


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Overview of Theft Crimes in Pensacola


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Theft Crime Penalties in Florida

The punishments for most theft crimes are determined by the value of the property stolen, and this is no different for petit theft. To be charged with second-degree petit theft, an individual must have stolen property with the monetary sum less than $100. A convicted individual could face up to 60 days in county jail and a $500 fine.

First-degree petit theft occurs when an individual steals something with a value between $100 and $300. A convicted individual could be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor and face up to one year in county jail and a $500 fine.

In certain circumstances, an individual convicted of petit theft could be charged with a third-degree felony. A person may be charged with a third-degree felony when the defendant has already been previously convicted of two or more theft charges. If convicted of a third-degree felony, an individual could face drastically increased penalties: a maximum five years in Florida State Prison and up to a $5,000 fine.

In addition to the punishments of conviction, an accused individual could have his or her driver's license suspended for up to six months after first conviction. Each additional charge thereby could sentence an individual to a one-year suspension.


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Retail Crimes and Shoplifting

The majority of petit theft crimes occur as retail or shoplifting offenses. Under Florida law, a shoplifting offense does not have a different set of rules than petit theft. There is not any set of individualized rulings under the Florida Statute § 812.014.

If charged with shoplifting, the defendant could potentially face the same punishments outlined under petit theft. The charge depends, as mentioned, on the dollar amount of the item or items stolen from the establishment.

If an individual has stolen more than $300 worth of property, he or she will be charged with grand theft; and the potential of facing a hefty sentence of five years in a Florida State Correctional Facility.

Many shoplifting defendants are first time offenders. With the help of an experienced theft crimes attorney, an alleged perpetrator can rest assured that their fundamental rights will be protected.


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Common Theft Crime Defenses in Florida

Theft crimes can be difficult to judge. Some theft charges may be filed because of a misinterpretation of ownership between two people. Maybe a defendant believed he or she had right to the object in question and thereby did not intend to commit a crime.

Although each theft case is different, the defenses that one may assert upon a petit theft charge are the same. 

Here are a few common defenses to theft crimes:

  • The object taken has no actual value as a property.
  • The object was taken by a legal co-owner.
  • The object was taken in good faith with no intent to steal.
  • The defendant voluntarily abandoned the original intent of theft.

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Additional Resources

Florida Statute § 812.014 – Visit Online Sunshine, the official website of the Florida Legislature, to learn more about the full statutory language of the general Florida theft statute. The theft statute serves as the primary law for charging most theft crimes or crimes of dishonesty under Florida law.

Neighborhood Scout | Florida Annual Crime – Visit one of the nation's most exhaustive, neighborhood crime statics website. Learn more about crime rates in every city and county in the country.

Crime Rates in Pensacola – Visit a Floridian crime statistic website, are vibes, to look into isolated crime city by city. Read more into Pensacola crime and learn how it compares to the rest of Florida and the country.


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Attorney for Petit Theft in Escambia County, FL

If you have been charged with petit theft in the Pensacola area or anywhere in Escambia County, contact an experienced defense attorney immediately. Petit theft can be seen as a negligible crime, with minor penalties, but any sort of criminal conviction will follow you around forever. The Law Office of James M. Burns has defended cases in all of Escambia and Santa Rosa County.

The Law Office of James M. Burns ensures that each and every client receives a sound, knowledgeable defense. If you need representation in the cities of Milton, Pace, or Navarre in Santa Rosa County; in Fort Walton Beach in Okaloosa County; or anywhere in Escambia County.

Contact The Law Office of James M. Burns today at (850) 457-6002 for a free consultation.